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Analyzing quality data can be a social process for all involved

Rachel Wheeler

May 1, 2013

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For companies who demonstrate a superb level of commitment to data quality, the benefits are numerous. Having accurate data on customers helps firms analyze their clientele and find key trends, which may in turn help them boost sales, improve consumer loyalty and leave a positive impact on their bottom lines for years to come.

But the question persists - how can companies best analyze the data they collect? Step one is gathering information and taking the appropriate measures to make sure it's accurate and actionable, but what is step two?

Judy Bayer, director of strategic analytics for Teradata International, and Marie Taillard, director of the Creativity Marketing Centre in London, recently wrote a piece for Harvard Business Review that carefully delineates how firms should go about analyzing data on their customers. Data analysis, the writers explained, should be a social event - in other words, analysts will produce better results if they come together and engage in stimulating interpersonal dialogues about how best to take action on the knowledge they've accumulated.

"Psychologists believe that creativity flourishes in social contexts, as thoughts are translated into words, objects or images and in turn reformulated into ideas," Bayer and Taillard wrote. "This is one of the reasons why visualization of data is so valuable. On the management side, there is increasing evidence that co-creative processes involving consumers and other stakeholders can have a transformative effect on key processes such as new product development."

The best marketing campaigns are the ones that consider real human input, not merely collections of data on computer screens. According to the supply chain integration firm Elmira, companies should also consider data collected from customers via social media platforms. This enables them to create special interest groups for consumers, helping them collaborate and share information.

"In the supply chain world, Big Data really means capturing and analyzing every piece of information from raw material procurement through manufacturing, through the distribution channels to the end customer," Elemica CEO John Blyzinskyj said.

It is impossible to properly analyze consumer data without first verifying its accuracy. Firms who use email verification and address management software solutions will always have the best possible data, which helps them to work together and collaboratively get results. Companies are capable of producing amazing creative content when they work together to channel their data into new initiatives, but ensuring the quality of that data must be the first step.

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